Greek Mythology In Salvage The Bones

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“Trickster nymphs… ruthless goddesses, and… world-uprooting mothers” (15). Greek mythology is filled with characters who exemplify the connection of power and femininity. In Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward emphasizes this connection through the thoughts and experiences of the protagonist, a teen girl named Esch. Esch has grown up in a male-dominated environment; her mother and grandmother both passed away when she was young, leaving her without any influential women in her life. Consequently, Esch looks to the heroines in the stories of Greek mythology to stand in and act as her female role models. She is particularly drawn to female characters who, at some point in their stories, triumph over a male figure, or the concept of masculinity more generally. Mythology becomes so significant to Esch that she begins to describe events in her life in mythological terms, most notably the hurricane the arrives at the end of the novel. Esch’s recurrent references to myths, particularly the female characters, serve to emphasize the connection between femininity and strength that prevails even in her male-dominated environment.
Esch is surrounded by male characters, including her father, brothers, and friends, who do not believe in the power of womanhood that is exemplified in Greek mythology. Their attitudes contribute to the male-controlled environment that she experiences. For example, Manny, the father of Esch’s child, states that there is a “[p]rice of being female” (96). This
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